This is only an informative post where I will put some resources and quotes from my studies on this subject. I plan to make an introductory article on the connection of Alchemy and Astrology, but I don’t know when will this be over, since I need to do some further investigation on the matter.
New Library posses some interesting articles by Robert Zoller on the subject, history and connection between Astrology, Hermeticism and Alchemy:
This is good introduction into Alchemy from Jose Barrera:
Jose Barrera’s site:
This is the leading website on Alchemy governed by Adam McLean:
One of the most exciting Alchemy texts is Splendor Solis in which introduction we can immediately see Astrology references:
“For as ROSINUS say: “All who engage in this Art, and are wanting the knowledge and perception of things, which the Philosophers have described in their books, are erring immensely; for the Philosophers have founded this art in a natural beginning, but of a very hidden operation. Though it is evident that all corporeal things originate in and are maintained and exist of the Earth, according to Time and Influence of the Stars and Planets, as: Sun, Moon and the others, together with the four qualities of the elements, which are without intermission, moving and, working therein, thereby creating every growing and procreating thing in its individual form, sex and substance, as first created at the Beginning by God, the Creator, consequently all metals, originate in the earth of a special and peculiar matter produced by the four properties of the four elements, which generate in their mixture the metallic force, under the influence of their respective planets.” (Splendor of the Solis, Ch 1, bold mine).
You can read it online here (with the full pictures):
Valentine Weigel (1533-1588) was a Luteran minister and alchemist.
He wrote very important work by name “Astrology Theologised”.
Weigel in this work argues that the body and soul are governed by the stars, that is Astrology, but the Spirit is governed by Theology:
Astrology possesseth our soul with the eternal body, wherein the Light of Nature dwells and shines forth, in some more excellently, in others less. And it contains in itself two things.
1st. All kind of Sciences, Arts, Tongues, Faculties, and natural Studies: all the Gifts, as well of the mind, as of the body, and also all Negotiations, Occupations, Actions, and Labours of Men, how many soever of them are found, exercised and used in all times upon the whole Earth, everywhere amongst men, as well gross as subtle, as well old as new, serving as well to good as to bad uses.
2nd. Under Astrology, are referred all Orders, States, and Degrees of men, Distinctions of Persons, Dignities, Gifts, Offices, and every Kind of Life as well naturally ordained by God Himself, as thought of and invented by human wit, and found out in the whole world from the highest and most honourable to the lowest and most base.
All these are the fruits of the Stars, and have their original from Astrology, and pertain to the body and soul, and may be as well good as bad, according to the divers pleasures of the users and abusers.
Weigel argues that man can escape the influence of the stars (which work in his Microcosm [through correspondence with the Macrocosm] through the inner Archetypes – Zodiac) only through living with Spirit which is the Theology living. In the book, Weigel gives methods of meditations and exercises for achieving this. I will make an article specially dedicated on this subject, for now let this be only a reference.
Man is what he eats, the appetites of men will show where his soul dwells. Weigel argues that whenever man learns the things in the world: sciences, languages and etc., he learns (he meets!) himself, he “eats” himself. This is the Greater World composed by the 4 elements of which is also composed the man itself, and the correspondence of the Macrocosm and Microcosm truly exists, this is the world governed by Astrology!
Whatsoever is without us, is also within us..
As to the Soul, we are from the Firmament and Stars..
The Firmament is put and placed in us, and we are put and placed in the Firmament..
But God is above all this, and the Spirit can aim to eat from the food of the Theology life lived in the Spirit!
Man can be truly free, only by accepting God’s will. The Natural Adam, that is the fallen state of men, just as the stars are corrupted by this fallen state of Lucifer, are effecting and in correspondence with this Natural Adam, so Weigel advises us to be wise and to try to rule our stars instead of letting them rule us completely.
This does not mean that men can escape totally from their influence, but by living inner life, theology life, one can develop what we would today call “awareness” or wisdom, and could we say that the knowledge of Astrology can guides us on this path?!
I will end this introduction into Weigel with this quote which I found to be fascinating:
“Therefore whatsoever we perceive, feel, touch, taste, smell, hear, see, imagine, think, speculate, learn, understand, savour, know, eat, and drink, and wheresoever we walk, this is the very same from whence we have drawn our original. We are always conversant in those things of which we are made. For Man is the centre of the whole universe. So we learn nothing else, but the very same thing that was before us, and whereof we are made, and which before we begin to learn, lies hid in us. Yea, we learn, search and know nothing else than our selves; to wit, learning, searching and knowing that whereof we come, and whence we have received our being. So we eat and drink nothing else but ourselves, to wit eating and drinking that whereof we are made.”
Just as a short introduction into the usage of Astrology symbolism by the alchemists I will give this explanation on the famous Alchemical picture: Rebis.
Alchemical picture is a map of the psyche, an externalization of the inner spiritual life, or psychological dissolving of the inner processes of the person’s experience on the path of realization of the wisdom.
The Rebis is androgynous creature which represents the masculine and feminine side of man. Now you can make an analogy with Ying and Yang, + and -, masculine and feminine zoidia and etc. The aim is to unity. We can see Mercury’s glyph above the two heads. You see now why Mercury is neither masculine nor feminine?
Sun as the masculine, day principle is above the man’s side of the “creature”, while Moon as representative of feminine and night, is on the woman’s side of the creature.
The man with the compass touches the glyph of Mars. Now, we know that Mars represents anger and passion. Anger and Passion can be dealt with Compassion (compass comes from the word Compassion). Jupiter on the opposite side is the symbol of Order and the square which the women holds is the symbol of order because it is rightly composed by 4 equal angles. We can make hundred different analogies of Equality as a form of Justice, because Justice needs to brings forth the things in equal measure and etc..
The dragon on which the androgynous creature stomps is the symbol of human’s animal nature which needs to be put in control with all the means explained above. The Alchemical Egg is Hermetically sealed and here lies the Philosopher’s Stone which can be found through the Alchemical Operations.